In the 2008 book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick, the case is made that loneliness is an essential and life-preserving trait of being human. To feel the fear of being unintentionally alone is what keeps us safe; making us run back to the safety of the clan. And not just a psychological reflective process, but an in-built physiological response to the need to be part of the collective of ‘our” group.
Could it be that the need to be together drives every one of our “modern-day” activities: that avoiding loneliness is the reason why we live in towns and cities, why we play sports, why we work together, why we fight together in armies, why we destroy the natural environment around ourselves to group together in bigger and bigger clans – that all these activities are simply excuses for us to connect with our fellow primates? – that these activities are essentially meaningless except to remove our fear of being alone.
The Social Role Valorization philosophy , developed by Wolf Wolfensburger in the 1970s, offered a model and methodology of inclusion for people with disabilities into society. Wolfensburger argued that for people with disabilities to have equal status with the non disabled in society, they must have valued roles in society. The theory presupposes that any person, to be fully human, must feel and be included in the human group /society they are geo-spacially part of -in other words, they must feel themselves part of the clan and be welcomed as part of the clan. Wolfensburger argued that it was ‘meaningful’ activity that provided that acceptance and value.
However, given that many, if not most, human activities are intrinsically value-less and meaningless taken in isolation ( eg sports and war), it would instead appear that the core of being valued is simply the capacity to maintain contact with other humans in a manner that allows reciprocal communication and hence provides reciprocal protection and safety.
Could it be that this “market-driven” world of consumerism and destruction has been elaborately constructed simply to assuage this vulnerable soft little primate, who cannot even see in the dark, from his fear of being alone?